Producing a Podcast with a Virtual Assistant (Without the Overwhelm)
Tanika J. Lothery is the founder and CEO of Virtually Yours, TJL, an agency that provides professional, administrative, technical, and creative support to women entrepreneurs in a remote capacity.
Like myself, Tanika comes from a corporate background. And taking a similar path to when I launched 31 Marketplace, Tanika became a Virtual Assistant (VA) after watching multiple friends struggle to stay organized with their businesses. In 2010, she formalized her support offerings and officially launched Virtually Yours, TJL.
During her BOSS™ Talk interview Red Flags Your Virtual Assistant Wants You To Know About Your Podcast, Tanika discussed how hiring a VA can help small business owners alleviate some of their overwhelm – specifically when it comes to podcast production. She also shares some invaluable tips on working with a VA to successfully support your business.
Having launched out as a VA myself during the first iteration of my business, I greatly appreciated the candidness of our conversation during the podcast interview and much of what Tanika shared deeply resonated with me because I’ve experienced it firsthand and I see it in the marketplace on a daily basis.
The Two Major Red Flags of Podcast Production
During our interview, Tanika identified two major patterns that usually presage a chaotic working relationship between a VA and a podcast host client - the lack of vision and process.
A Lack of Vision
Podcasts themselves have become very trendy over the last few years, prompting many entrepreneurs to simply throw their hats into the ring simply because they feel they should. However, to produce a compelling show, it is essential to understand your “why” – your vision for the show and why your voice is needed in the space.
In her newest book, The Widest Net, my coach, mentor and dear friend Pamela Slim describes this business foundation as finding the mission at your root - the concrete contribution your work, or in this case show, is making in the marketplace.
Without vision, you won’t be able to lead your business, team or your audience anywhere close to meaningful transformation.
A Lack of Process
When I start working with clients, many of them have implementation logistics, preferences and know-how hidden away in their heads and have yet to organize their ideas and expectations into clear processes with timelines that their team can follow. The clients that also produce podcasts are no exception to this common jumping off point.
And that is why no matter the process from distributing a monthly newsletter to producing a weekly podcast, I walk every client through a mapping process. Not only does this help get valuable information out of their heads, it gives me an opportunity to identify gaps in their current workflows and find solutions for those gaps.
When there is a lack of vision and process, there is typically unchecked overwhelm as well. And if that is the case, without solid systems in place a podcast host isn’t alleviating that overwhelm, they are simply passing it to someone else - their VA.
“When systems are not in place or system gaps exist, the natural thing that is created is overwhelm, stress, and worry.” - Tanika J. Lothery
How to Keep the Overwhelm in Check
During our interview Tanika offered up several valuable tips that podcast hosts can leverage in order to work with their VA with greater ease as well as free up more time for themselves to enjoy rest and focus on other visionary aspects of their business.
And since I’m all about showing you how to battle overwhelm with systems and self-care, here is an overview of what she had to share.
Know Your Why
Before you hire a VA, make sure you have a clear answer to why you are entering into the podcast space. What is the overall focus of the podcast? What unique insight do you have to contribute to the marketplace? Who is your audience and what do you want them to know, feel or do differently after listening to one of your shows? Having a clear why allows your growing team to get behind you and share in your vision.
Establish Clear Timelines
It is important to start with a general timeline so your VA knows exactly what they need to accomplish for the show and by when. Remember, they are juggling multiple clients and helping to support several podcasts - so knowing when each task should be completed will allow your VA to adjust their week and leave wiggle room for any unexpected developments.
“We are people too, and we understand that things happen. We all need that extra cushion of time built in to adjust to whatever unexpected thing is going to come.” - Tanika J. Lothery
Additionally you should have an idea of how many episodes you want to produce each season and the publication cadence. If you need help with the project management side of producing a podcast, your VA can likely support you in this.
Side note, for BOSS™ Talk, we use Asana as our project management tool.
Automate Guest On-boarding
Automating your on-boarding process – such as collecting guest information and communicating interview logistics – can help significantly cut down on the work needed to produce an episode for both you and your VA. Leveraging automation frees up your valuable time to walk out the vision of your show. For a resource on how to automate your guest on-boarding, check out Automating Your Podcast Grind & Reclaiming Your Time.
Accept Needing Help
The first step to accepting help is to recognize that you need help. While it can be uncomfortable to delegate tasks to others for a number of reasons, remember your VA is there to support you.
When asked to leave small business owners with a final piece of advice for ending their overwhelm, she emphatically encourages hiring a VA.
For more information on how to launch and optimize your podcast be sure to check out the resources available at therealbosstalk.com.